TEMPE, Ariz. — “I’d like to send my love to my wife and son.”
“Until that day when I can come home to you … cheerio.”
“Hello, Mother and Dad, I hope you’re fine … I’m making it OK.”
These and other messages home to Arizona echo across the decades in recordings made during World War II by Howard Pyle, a war correspondent who later served as Arizona’s governor.
Until now they were on aging vinyl transcription discs and existed in obscurity as part of archives Pyle’s wife donated to Arizona State University in 1988.
But in time for Veterans Day, those and other recordings in the collection have been digitized and made available online by ASU Libraries staff, with funding from the Luhrs Family Endowment and ASU.
“I can’t sufficiently describe the excitement of this,” said Robert Spindler, archivist and curator for the Arizona Collection at ASU Libraries. “We spent several thousand dollars without really knowing what was in these discs in detail.”
Before Pyle was governor (1951-55), he was a popular broadcaster on Phoenix radio station KFAD, which became KTAR. For 25 years, he broadcast an Easter sunrise service from the Grand Canyon that was carried nationally by NBC.
As a war correspondent, he recorded brief “Hometowner” interviews with Arizona soldiers and nurses in the Philippines. The collection available online contains the voices of 34 Arizonans serving during WWII.
“These materials have great emotional and personal value to families of the servicemen and -women that are represented here,” Spindler said.
Pyle broadcast a report of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri and was among the first radio journalists to enter conquered Japan.
The collection, 40 tracks in all, includes Pyle’s descriptions of flying into Yokohama, Japan, with the 11th Airborne Division and trying to get control of radio facilities from Japanese soldiers who hadn’t received order to turn them over.
“It’s those moments that you get just a brief glimpse of what Howard Pyle endured in trying to cover these very important events for the world,” Spindler said.
Research on the recordings led an ASU archivist to Margaret Ambos Sanderson, who was able to listen via computer to a fellow serviceman reading a message her father, Arnold M. “Fuzzy” Ambos, wrote a week before her birth.
“It said, ‘I have a message from Arnold, and it was to his parents and his wife, my mom, and it said that everything was fine and he loved them very much,” said Sanderson, who lives in Globe. “That gave me cold chills, I’ll tell ya.”
Her father went on to serve in Korea, where he earned the Purple Heart, then served 25-plus years as clerk of the Superior Court in Gila County.
Spindler said he hopes making the recordings available online helps identify more Arizona descendants of those featured.
“We think that some of those families may contact us as a result of making this public and add to our knowledge of these individuals’ contribution to the war effort,” he said.
Other recordings made available include Gen. Douglas MacArthur addressing the First Congress of the Philippines, Pyle’s interviews from the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco and a 1951 Grand Canyon Easter service when Pyle was governor.
Spindler said restoring the recordings and placing them in historical context has produced “jaw-dropping moments.”
“It’s one of the great things about archival work, it’s the process of discovering what’s really in this material,” he said.
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match